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(August 2003)

Missing From Movies
We recently watched a made-for-television remake of the fairy tale, Prince Charming. It was a rather limp remake of this classic story that transplanted the characters to contemporary New York. Martin Short, as the Prince’s sidekick, provided comic relief. However the two female leads reminded us of a couple of actors that we don’t see enough in feature films.Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters is a delight, whatever her performance. She’s cute, nay she’s beautiful, she sings like a bawdy angel, she’s sexy, with a centerfold figure – and she’s funny! But she prefers New York to Hollywood, so Broadway has received her bountiful gifts more than the silver screen.

Her first movie, when she was 25, was Ace Eli and Rodger of The Sky (1973) about 1920s stunt fliers (from a story by Steven Spielberg!) We, at The Toast, first remember her as the hilarious cabaret entertainer in Mel Brooks’ 1976 Silent Movie. Bernadette got a Golden Globe nomination for that. Then she made two movies with Bernadette PetersSteve Martin (who was her main squeeze for a while); The Jerk (1979) where she played Martin’s long-suffering girl friend, and Pennies From Heaven (1981) with Bernadette in one of her best roles as a prim schoolteacher who falls for a 1930s sheet-music salesman. The gorgeous musical numbers reminded moviegoers of what they were missing and that Broadway audiences were getting. She’s so convincing, as the compromised woman, that she breaks your heart.

Other memorable movies include Heartbeeps (1981) in which she’s a robot (“beep, beep”) in love with another robot (“beep”), played by Andy Kaufman. Slaves of New York (1989) has Bernadette miscast as a hat designer, and Snow Days (1999). In the meantime, she’s won a passel of Tonys and she’s the toast of musical Broadway. We miss her in the movies and hope to see her again. Oh, in Prince Charming she plays a Shakespeare theatre-in-the-park actress who inspires the Prince to see the error of his ways.

Christina Applegate
Christina ApplegateIn Prince Charming Christina Applegate is a Central Park carriage tour driver who, naturally, ends up with the Prince. She is a very talented actor who’s first big gig was as the over-sexed teenage daughter in TVs Married… With Children (1987-1997). We didn’t see any great acting talent from her during the run of that show but later she had her own series. Jesse ran from 1998 to 2000. Christina played a single mom trying to find new love, with help from a disapproving father, a dysfunctional girlfriend and two disordered and dumb brothers. It was a comedy. However, Christina really got to show her acting chops, she was superb and truly carried the show.

Her first foray into the movies was in the 1981 horror film Jaws of Satan. You remember that one don’t you? Later she was in Mars Attacks! (1996) and The Sweetest Thing (2002) but nothing yet to showcase her talent. She has five more films just completed or due out in the next two years so we may yet see something deserving of this fine actor. We can’t wait to see more movies with Christina Applegate!

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